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Thursday, 7 July 1949

Mr JOHNSON (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for the Interior) - It is difficult to know exactly what the honorable member's question means. The honorable member has gone " walk-about " in connexion with it. The position regarding Canberra is that after many discussions and investigations it was decided to appoint a commissioner to investigate the possibility of extending to the people of Canberra some measure of civic control. Mr. Cole was appointed for the purpose of investigating that matter, and in the near future will submit his report for consideration.

Mr Menzies - He is a good man too.

Mr JOHNSON - As the Leader of the Opposition has just interjected, Mr. Cole is a good man for the job. I regard Mr. Cole as a very excellent man, who is well fitted to carry out the responsibility that has been placed upon him. The matter of extending the same privileges to the Northern Territory as those that might be extended to the Australian Capital Territory has not yet been considered. The position of the Northern Territory is not comparable with that of the capital city of Australia. However, consideration may be given to that matter at later stages, if it is warranted. Regarding the democracy of the Australian Capital Territory, I can say that this Government has extended the right to the people at Canberra to elect their own representative at the forthcoming general election. If I am any judge of the position, they will not elect an independent candidate.

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